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I MAR i 2 'ft 

I neCrcattvcwornan 



, Creatine 

QwO man A quarterly, Governors State University, Park Forest South, IL60466. VOL. 3. NO. 3, WINTER 1980 
A quarterly published at Governors State University under the auspices of the Provost's Office 

1979, Governors State University and Helen Hughes 

Helen E. Hughes, Editor 
Lynn Thomas Strauss, Managing Editor 
Joan Lewis, Editorial Consultant 
Suzanne Oliver, Graphic Designer 

Bridget Marsh 

Donna Bandstra, Social Sciences 

Rev. Ellen Dohner, Religion 

Rita Durrant, League of American Penwomen 

Dottie Fisk, Children's Creativity 

Harriet, Gross, Sociology I W omen's Studies 

Helene Guttman, Biological Sciences 

Mimi Kaplan, Library Resources 

Shirley Katz, M usic/ Literature 

Young Kim, Com m unications Science 

Harriet Marcus, Journalism 

Elizabeth Ohm, Library Resources 

Betye Saar, Fine Arts 

Marjorie Sharp, Human Relations Services 

Sara Shumer, Political Theory 

Em ily Wasiolek, Literature 

Table of Contents 

Introduction 3 

Bridget Marsh 

Part 1 Women And The Sea: Families 

Sailing As A Way of Life 5 

Bridget Marsh 

Fear Of Sailing 7 

Jenny Francis 

Wife And Mother At Sea 7 

Barbara Hutton 

First Time Skipper 9 

Joan Shipley 

A Wife's Statement 13 

Barbara Brissenden 

Part 2 Women And The Sea: 19th Century 

Seagoing Wives of Yankee Whalers; A Nineteenth Century Phenomenon 15 

Joseph C. Meredith 

Two Survivors ( A Bal lad) 19 

Mermaids (Mythology) 19 

Stork Delivery In The Straits (Historical Notes) ". 21 

Pirates (Historical Notes) 22 

Vision of Grandfather Captain (Tall Tales) 22 

Mother Becker (Historical Notes) 23 

Part 3 Women And The Sea: 20th Century 

The Navy Today 25 

Joan Lewis 

Sailors' Slang 27 

Watersheds At Sea 28 

From The Editor's Quarterdeck 29 

Helen E. Hughes 


Helen hihAt thought oh the. idea 
oh an issue oh The Creative Woman 
devoted to women sailing while s he 
was on one oh my cruising holidays 
in the. Greek Islands, She. mentioned 
it across several empty wine bottle* 
as we. sat around the. table, laughing 
and talking and trying to do a little. 
Greek dancing. The. ixtea attracted me. 
straight away as I ^e.el quite strongly 
that this is a sport which women can 
do as well as men in many cases, but 
which is still very much male dominated,* 
This doesn't just apply to racing and 
championship* oh one sort ok another 
but to the sport as a whole, 

I fiind it very had that women don't 
o^ten have, the chance, on. take the. 
opportunity when it is opened to learn 
to bail, However I do not heel this 
is entirely the iault oh the men in 
our society, Despite pressure h*-om 
peer groups and society in general hor 
a girl to be weak and passive it is 
possible to push through this and learn to 
to take responsibility in a "man's sport". 
This is bourne out by the example oh 
so many women who today horm an equal 
partnership with a man and go sailing, 
We can all take a lesson farom the 
whalers' wives who rehired to be leht 
on the shore and demanded to be taken 

Mow it is our tarn to ask to 
be given the cliance to learn to sail, 
A quick glance at the chronological 
outline o^ the participation o\ women 
will give you an idea oh how much more 
we are doing today. It's all too easy 
hor people to say oh Naomi James 
and Claire Francis and other women 
who are getting to the hore that they 
had all that help. But they did it a 
We must not be too proud to ask hor 
help to do it also. The rewards are 
so great: the thrill and excitement 
oh a h<u>t sail, the relaxation ahter a 
gale at sea, the sense oh h aJ t-h'tll jme - n; t 
and satis haction °h a landhall sahely 
navigated — so good I would like every- 
one to share it* 

I have tried to include as wide 
a spectrum as possible oh women who 
do sail, so as to include as many 
women as we can into this edition. 
Our contributors come h^-om many dihh^ 1 ' 
ent backgrounds and write h*-om many 
dihh&L&nt points oh view a I was 
disappointed that a very independent 
lady who skippers a large charter yacht 
helt she couldn't express what she 
helt. Her words went something like 
this-"l don't know anything about 
women's Lib — I just sail 'cos it's 
what I want to do and everybody who 
sails with me gets treated the same," 
That's just what I would have liked her 
to say in a brieh article, but she 
helt she couldn't write her thoughts 

Let me express my thanks to 
those who have written their thoughts 
down including: 

Barbara Hutton, who was brought 
up in a small New Zealand town, 
trained as a schoolteacher but whisked 
ohh to the outbacks to be a ^aAme/i.'4 
wihe. She did not come h^-om a sailing 
hamily and only with reluctance agreed 
to their round the world trip, Read 
her article and see hor yours elh what 
she thinks now. 

Jenny Tnancis i& anothen neluctant 

Sailon. She (AXIS at ^iASt VQJllj fintghtened 

and it took patience on the. pant ofa hen 
husband to neA to enjoy hensel{. 
She has been veny honest hene. 

Joan Shipley fion yeans thought 
oft henselfi just a* cneu) until one day 
it dawned on hen. that ihe was neatly 
quite capable ofi skippentng. 

Joseph C. Wenedtth is a n.ztined 
naval o^icen. who embanked on a caneen. 
in libnantanship in 1965, and is cunxently 
Aenving as a subject specialist on the 
stafifi o{> the ilnivensity Libnany at 
Govennons State Ilnivensity. IHe hat> 
wnitten extensively on pno Sessional 
and histontcal topics. 

Joan Lewis is publications edtton 
at Govennons State Univensity and edttonial 
Consultant to The Cneative Woman. 

Happy Sailing to one and alt! 
Entdget Mansh 

®4 . 

rr%A Li 

Part One Women and the Sea: Families 

by Bridget Marsh 

Over the past two and one-half 
years I have had the opportunity to watch 
many women on yachts and realise that 
I am very fortunate to be in the position 
I am. Most women do not get the opportunity 
to learn to sail and be confident while 
in charge of a boat. From a very young 
age it is the son who is encouraged to 
take the helm or help Daddy with the sails 
or engine whilst daughters are, if not 
actively discouraged, are not encouraged 
to learn. 

relationship is a feeling that is worth 
all the fear and anticipation, 

In my job as flotilla hostess I get 
to see the attitudes of many men and 
women on yachts: toward each other and 
toward the yacht itself.. For some, the 
yacht is just an extension of the house, 
and duties are clearly outlined as they 
are in the home; the women do everything 
below, the cleaning and cooking etc 3 , 
and the men look after things on deck. 
The women are allowed on deck if it is 
fine and they're not in the way, but are 
ushered below as soon as it gets rough 
or anything interesting is happening. 
Time and time again I see this on the 
yachts. I have had to listen to men 
shouting at their wives to get out of 
the way instead of giving them something 
useful they can do. Or the wife or girl- 
friend is sent up to foredeck as the boat 

I learned to sail on my father's 
catamarran and, having no brothers to do 
the hard bits, I soon learned to do them 
myself. So in a way I was -forced to learn 
what many women and girls are not expected 

to know even if they go on sailing holidays, comes into the quay to tie up, but they 
There was never any chance of me lying are not told what they must do or how 
around the deck sunbathing or only being f do it. The husband is yelling at 
asked to clean or cook. I had to participatej-hem, they are getting confused, and 
in making the boat go in the direction we f ee | told off and humiliated. And next 
wanted. I think because of this I had a 
great advantage over many girls, once I 
understood what made the boat go forwards. 
I took a greater interest in what went 
on and wanted to learn to do everything. 

time they will prefer to keep out of the 
way as the best of a bad deal. 

However it wasn't until my boyfriend 
and I bought our own 20' yacht and started 
sailing as a team that I realised the 
full potential of sailing in terms of 
fulfillment. When there are just two 
people on a yacht doing a longish trip, 
each person must be able to feel totally 
confident in the other's ability and also 
self-knowledge. Knowing that the other 
person can handle most situations is not 
enough. They must also know when they can 
no longer cope and need help and advice. 

It is through this total sharing of 
responsibility that I get such satisfac- 
tion from sai ling When we arrive in a 
port or anchorage I know that I did my 
share in getting us there. That feeling 
of having got there all by yourselves 
and the incredible warmth it lends to a 

Then there is the other extreme 
where the woman is recognised as crew 
but there is still no attempt to explain 
what is going on or to show her how 
to do a particular task. Thus an oppor- 
tunity for the female crew to gain 
confidence is lost because she is still 
left bewildered. Between these two are 
an infinite number of variations. I 
have very seldom seen a yacht on which 
the woman is as capable as the man, and 
I feel this is a great loss to all 

Historically, very few women have 
taken to the sea. In the old days they 
had to smuggle themselves aboard, as in 
the famous case of Bare, a servant to 
Philibert do Commercon, botanist on 
Bougainville's circumnavigation in 
1766-9. Or was it that she was smuggled 

However, the sea treats all commers 
the same, and in order for us to succeed 
we must be prepared to be strong. OD It is 
no good pleading female frailty in the 
middle of a storm. Several women have 
become famous ocean voyagers, but there 
have not been many. Those that I know 
however are generally treated with 
great respect. Men might pooh pooh the 
woman who talks of getting away to sea, 
but if a woman actually does, I have 
found that she gains respect. 

I was lucky because, when I first 
learned to sail at about 8 years of age, 
I had no brothers to take over and my 
father insisted that I know what I was 
doing. It was usually fun, and if it 
wasn't we didn't do it. We stopped if 
it got dark or cold or dangerous. I 
never became frightened, was always 
encouraged to be responsible and slowly 
over time my confidence grew. 

Now, sailing my own boat, it is 
precisely those times which are exciting, 
a test of skill and ability; and so 
rewarding to come through. For me 
sailing has evolved from a sunny after- 
noon sport to a way of life. I live 
most of the time on board yachts and 
during the last 2{ years they have been 
my work as we I I . 

I sailed a small yacht (only 20 
feet long) from England to Greece, a 
journey of some 2,500 miles with one 
other person. When people saw her, they 
wouldn't believe that we had come all 
the way in her. She just didn't look 
big enough to accommodate two people or 
to survive storms and gales c We always 
intended to carry on cruising but when 
we arrived in Greece we were running 
low on money, so accepted jobs as skipper 
and hostess with a fleet of charter 
yacht So This seemed a most satisfying 
way of earning a livelihood and I have 
adopted it now for the last two years 

It is a very rewarding job. I 
love to see novices arriving from 
England, not knowing really the stern 
from the bow and after two weeks on 
their own yacht they've learned so 
much. It gives most people a big 
kick to be in charge of a boat and it's 
really not difficult if someone is there 
to answer your questions or give you 
a hand, maybe offer a little advice* 

I shall be doing a similar job again 
this year, hopefully with a little 
skippering thrown in and a little 
single handing on a slightly bigger 
boat just to keep me on my toes 

by Junny Fsulucaa 

Heart-stopping fear when the boat 
first heels over— knowing the theory 
that the yacht becomes more stable the 
further it heels, but not being able 
to reconcile this with the choking 
feeling that we are going over any 
minute. I start to plan emergency 
measures in my mind— position of life- 
jackets, the need to get the children 
out of the cabin, where they are reading 
blissfully unafraid. Not only are we 
going to capsize, but the noise of the 
sails as gusts hit them adds to my 
terror. For the first few days we 
didn't have the art of making everything 
secure in the cabin, and as a spoon or 
watermelon goes flying across, the noise 
convinces me that the whole sink unit 
has come crashing through the floor. 

Overcoming this fear is slow and hard 
and certainly involves trust in the 
skipper. I had to make a conscious 
decision whether I was going to sail 
only in non-gusty weather or ride it 
through and overcome the fear. I found 
sitting on the windward side helped 
me get used to heeling. Then too, as 
I had to help sail the boat I yery 
quickly found myself gritting my teeth 
and clasping the tiller with knuckles 
white. But I was getting there. A 
week later I was sailing the boat in 
gusty weather, heeling over, tacking 
under instruction, but none the less 

by Zaxbanxx. Hcutton 

"Crazy, quite crazy" said our friends 
when they heard of our plans. "Terrible 
tragedy" said the grandparents when they 
learned we were taking our two daughters 
aged eleven and twelve away from formal 
schooling. Neighbours in our small 
farming community were horrified to learn 
that we were leaving our farm and 20 years 
of hard work : general catastrophe. 

What is this unusual family doing, 
you must be thinking? First let me 
introduce us: myself as mother, father, 
two sons now 22 and 23, and two daughters 
14 and 16. For 20 years we had lived by 
the sea and owned a series of small 
yachts, always claiming that one day 
we'd buy a larger one and take off 
around the world. Of course, that is 
many people's dream — but how often does 
it turn into reality? Ours did. 

After the deed was done I started to 
have grave misgivings, thinking of all 
the things that could go wrong. Sickness 
or accident of course was a major consider- 
ation. What mother wouldn't have night- 
mares imagining a seriously ill or 
mutilated child, maybe miles from medical 
help? However we'd always been a healthy 
family, rarely needing a doctor, and we 
took advice on necessary medical supplies 
and treatment. Good wholesome food was 
another necessary consideration, so my 
husband installed a deep freeze to 
supplement canned and dried food. 

Safety— a vital factor. We had a 
strong, well rigged yacht with all the 
necessary safety equipment including an 
expensive life raft which hopefully 
would never be needed. 

Isolation was only a minor problem, 
as we'd lived all our lives in the country 
many miles from neighbours or townships. 
We had learned to rely on our own resources 
and ingenuity, making our own fun and 

As for schooling, our two sons had 
already finished their formal education, 
so that left our two daughters to consider. 
Correspondence lessons were the answer. 

Although problems seemed to have been 
overcome, still I didn't want to leave 
my home, family, friends and animals. 
What a terrible wrench. But many men 
and women down through the ages have 
made that same sacrifice and survived- 
so why couldn't I? 

It is now 3 years and 30,000 miles 
since we waved our tearful farewells to 
our homeland, promising to be back in 
5 years which seems ludicrous now, as 
we are now less than half way around 
the world with much left to see and do. 

Being a school teacher I made the 
girls do regular school work on all topics 
at first. Mow I only insist on Mathematics 
and English because I have discovered that 
education is not confined to text books 
and four walls. A daily diary is written 
plus a scrap book containing photographs 
and mementos of interesting visits, the 
kids have learned to cope with a vast 
array of problems and situations in every 
country, mixed and talked with all 
nationalities, gone shopping and learned 
to bargain in the markets, and visited 
areas where no ordinary tourist could 
ever set foot. Years spent sailing 
around the world can represent real 
education. Parents should never be 
afraid to let their children travel. I 
was afraid, but no more after watching 
four youngsters turn into mature, self- 
reliant people, highly educated in the 
ways of the world. 

For myself, my greatest thrill has 
been the navigation— usually the man's 
perogative. A few years ago, being fond of 
mathematics, I learned navigation as a 
hobby and now put that knowledge into 
practice. There are no words to describe 
the sense of satisfaction and achievement 
(and at times relief) when after many 
weeks of open ocean, a small, small atoll 
a mile wide, with 20' high palm trees 
appears on the horizon... very easily 
missed if one's calculation were a couple 
of miles in error. So far I've found every 
port, island or land that was our destin- 
ation and avoided all off-lying dangers. 
Virtually, the family's safety has been 
in my hands. Quite a responsibility. This 
made me realize that I must teach my 

son navigation in case I fell overboard 
or became ill. Knowing my family wouldn't 
be forever going 'round in circles made 
me much happier. 

We are a family afloat, a thousand 
miles from habitation, confident in our 
ability and resources. Self-discipline 
was the first big lesson learned, 
especially for the children when they 
realised that six lives relied on their 
doing the right thing at the right moment. 
Can you imagine your 13 year old daughter 
as a miniature Capt. Bligh, standing night 

Many women ask me, "Don't you ever get 
bored?" I can answer truthfully, "Never". 
In fact there is rarely enough time; daily 
housework, mfcals to prepare, school work 
to supervise - all take longer than when 
ashore. The oceans are never empty. Daily 
we catch enough fish for food. Often we 
have unpaying passengers in the form of 
land or sea birds. They are quite fearless 
and the children are delighted when their 
feathered friends accept food and water,, 
Books are very important and provide 
an antidote against loneliness. We carry 
about 200 books which are constantly 
swapped with other yachts equally eager 
for something new to read. 

With our type of "mobile home travel" 
we have the opportunity of meeting the 
ordinary citizens and being invited into 
homes for meals and conversation. This 
is something which people on an organised 
tour or cruise rarely get the chance to 
do. Our tastes in all things from food 
to clothes, furniture and house design 
have been and continue to be broadened 
and changed. Before, we tended to live 
in our own little corner of the world 
thinking that what we do or have is the 
best. Sailing to another country very 
soon dispells this silly notion. 

So I say to any of you, if you have 
the opportunity to sail, don't hesitate. 
You'll think of a dozen valid reasons 
to stay put—but please don't. Set 
sail and enrich your lives. 


by Joan Shipley 

Men, it seems to me, are brought up 
to feel that they can and should; women 
that they can't and shouldn't. Skipper 
the family boat that is. It gives men 
a tremendous psychological advantage and 
women a handicap, which it is all too easy 
to accept. It took me 9 years' sailing to 
realise that I was a competent sailor 
and last winter I began to wonder whether 
I could take the boat off on my own, if 
I chose to break out of my allotted role. 
I had been doing the navigation and 
pilotage for some years anyway, so that 
presented no particular problem. I could 
handle the boat under sail and power, 
though in a tight spot under power I 
would often hand over, feeling I must 
be certain to get it right first time or 
else not try. There were one or two 
minor jobs of engine maintenance that 
I know how to do, but rarely did and one 
or two odd things that I suddenly realised 
I'd never investigated: greasing the 
stern gland; fitting the compass light 
to the battery terminals; fitting, trimming 
and hoisting the riding light; actually 
doing the roller reefing. They were, 
however, all things that took only a 
short time to check over. Then I knew 
that I would have to have a go. 

To get the boat down to Falmouth, 
so that we could start our holiday from 
there, made sense anyway and wasn't 
exactly a major voyage. So, as I get 
a longer holiday than my husband, I 
suggested the idea and enrolled our 
daughter Rosemary and her boyfriend Phil 
as crew. When it came to the point no 
one said that I couldn't or shouldn't 
and, though I began to feel quite nervous 
as the time approached, I was already 
feeling the skipper and I kept my 
feelings to myself, and didn't allow 
myself any public doubts (one of the 
luxuries and expectations of my usual 
role). Anyway it was no different 
from many occasions at work, where I 
accept first time nerves when I have to 
step out and tackle something new. 

It was a glorious sunny day, blowing 
Force 4-5, when Rosemary, Phil and I 
said goodbye to my husband on the quay 

at Bosham and rowed out to our boat, a 
Rustler 31. We took time to settle in and, 
when we eventually motored off down the 
channel , my husband had gone. I had intended 
to sail straight to Dartmouth, but, as 
the wind was freshening and Phil had never 
been on a boat before, I decided to start 
with a shakedown trip down the Solent to 
Lymington that day. This would let Phil 
get the hang of things and Rosemary 
could get her sea legs, as it was some 
time since she had been able to come 
sailing with us. We got the sails up 
near Hayling Island and sailed hard all 
day down the Solent with the wind dropping 
in the afternoon and the tide turning 
against us as we approached Lymington. 
I was tempted to push on, but suiting 
your sailing to the crew is good sea- 
manship I told myself, and said nothing 
out loud. We picked up a buoy at the 
entrance to Lymington river for the night, 
cooked ourselves a meal and enjoyed the 
lovely evening. 

The next morning was misty, but 
sunny and warm and we set off again about 
1000, bound for Dartmouth. The wind was 
against us and we motored down to the 
Needles and then tacked, heading out 
to sea. With the misty conditions, we soon 
lost sight of land and it was Phil's 
first experience of this in a small boat. 
However, we kept not too far from the 
coast and by the late afternoon had tacked 
into Weymouth Bay. The wind now dropped 
and we put on the motor. Our chart was 
an old one and I knew the Shambles 
Lightvessel had been replaced by a buoy 
(how silly not to have charts updated); we 
we spent a long time looking for it, 
eventually being off Portland Bill with 
the tide against us by the evening. We 
were making very slow progress and the 
crew got a bit fed up and suggested 
putting into Portland for the night; but 
this time I was determined to push on, 
so I jollied them along with thoughts 
of the tide turning and shooting off into 
Lyme Bay in fine style in an hour or two. 
There was no wind and no sea running, so we 
kept only a mile or so off the Bill and 
listened to the weather forecast. A cold 
front was coming in during the night, 
but nothing violent was forecast, so I 
felt we could cope and would probably 
have a clear landfall in the morning, 

after the front had passed. 

I took the first watch, from 2100 
to midnight while Rosemary and Phil 
slept. It started off a lovely, clear 
night, but clouds, indicating the approach 
of the front, gradually built up. Helicopters 
were exercsing in Lyme Bay with a ship as 
a focal pcint, but some wind got up and 
as we sailed on south of them it gave me 
something to watch on deck on my own. At 
midnight Rosemary and Phil took over, 
Rosemary taking the watch, as she had 
often done before and showing Phil how 
to steer by the compass and recognise 

When I came back on deck at 0300, 
the light on Berry Head was already 
showing and I realised that we would 
reach Dartmouth quite early in the 
morning. I felt that we should share 
the next 3 hours' sleeping time, so that 
we would all be reasonably refreshed 
when we arrived. This nearly caused a 
mutiny in the crew or half of it at 
least, as our guest was too polite to 
join the fray. However I insisted and 
Rosemary compromised by coming on deck 
herself again at 0430 leaving Phil to 
sleep. It's not worth getting too tired 
yourself just for a bit of peace, I 
decided, learning another lesson about 
being a skipper. Before the lights went out 
out we saw both Berry Head and Start Point 
and were making a good landfall without 
the use of RDF. A pity; I would have 
liked to have needed that. By dawn we 
could see the land ahead and the front 
was passing, leaving excellent visibility 
and some blue sky, quite according to 
the book, though there had been no rain 
at all. 

We sailed into Dartmouth about 0630 
and dropped anchor on the Kingswear side 
of the river. We cleared up on deck, but 
then retreated to our bunks for some more 
sleep, leaving the mess down below to 
be cleared when we woke up. We usually 
clean everything religiously before going 
to sleep, so I felt quite guilty creeping 
quickly into my bunk, but this time I 
played it my way. 

The next day was bright and mostly 
sunny and we stayed in Dartmouth and 


relaxed. I decided that, if the wind 
continued to blow from the west, we would 
make Plymouth the next day and then sail 
to Falmouth on the Thursday. The wind 
did continue and was blowing about Force 6 
on Wednesday morning. We weighed anchor 
about 1100, putting several reefs in the 
mainsail and using the working jib. We 
were right to do so, as the wind was blowing 
quite hard outside and we sailed fast down 
to Start Point in a pretty choppy sea. We 
put our safety harnesses on and settled down 
for some hard sailing. We had to tack 
after Start Point and it continued rough 
going till at last we could sail a little 
more freely up towards Plymouth. We were 
glad we had made some sandwiches and hot 
soup, as no one felt like cooking, We 
were relieved, too, to get into the shelter 
of Plymouth Sound by the afternoon and 
Phil felt he was becoming quite a hardened 
sailor. As a reward for a tough day we 
decided to make for the marina and reached 
there about 1630. (Yes, I manoeuvred under 
power alongside the enquiry pontoon and 
into our berth with no problems at all ) 
The only hint of trouble was a bit of 
difficulty in starting the engine and 
when we got in I ran it for a while 
to charge the batteries, all two of them, 
as I thought. It was not till a couple 
of months later that I realised that I 
had switched on one battery only. One 
extra thing I hadn't checked up on before 
I started. 

That was that as far as my trip 
went. It started to rain that night 
and next day gales were forecast all 
round. We waited hopefully for a day, 
but there was no sign of any improvement 
and Rosemary and Phil decided that, as 
we didn't want to head into a gale, they 
would make for home next morning. I 
felt yery disappointed that I hadn't 
got to Falmouth as I had aimed to do. 
It was only a very little voyage v/e 
had made, but I couldn't change the 
weather, so I rang up my husband and 
suggested he came to Plymouth instead 
and resigned myself to a day of boat 
cleaning and reading. It was lovely to 
hear the thump on deck, as Tony arrived 
at 0500 next morning, but was there just 
a bit of a mixed feeling too at returning 
to sharing again? Yes, just a bit. It's 
quite addictive, this business of being 
a skipper. I can see why so many men 
enjoy it and guard their position so 
jealously. It's fun to be the boss, to 
be responsible and take decisions and 
it's fun too to manage the crew and make 


a trip that challenges them a bit, but 
is enjoyable as well. It has added to my 
sailing confidence enormously and to my 
confidence in myself generally. The 
hardest part I think is deciding about the 
weather, when to go and when to stay put. 
If you stay too long, you can get over- 
cautious, but you must make the decision to 
go purely on the weather and the strength 
of the crew, not on the crew's feelings 
of boredom or bravado. 

I learnt more about this on the way 
home when we got fogbound in Dartmouth and 
our son and I spent a couple of days in 
port and then sailed the boat part of the 
way home. However despite the frustrations, 
I enjoyed myself enormously and added a 
new dimension to my sailing. I'll have 
to do it again next year. We'll try to 
get across the Channel to north or south 
Brittany and then I shall be quite a 
seasoned skipper, but I doubt if it will 
be more exciting or fun than my very first 
small voyage was. I think the crew enjoyed 
it too. They say they'll come next year. 

( Rzpniwtzd uj-lth poAmu>6ion faom "Yachting 
Monthly" MoAck 1979 page* 657-652. ) 


by Brenda Brissenden 

January's magazine contained a 
paragraph which stated, "I learn that 
John Brissenden has been forced by a 
growing family (weight, not number) to 
give up his SIII and has bought Electra , 
a bilge keel Pandora". I would like, 
through the medium of our magazine, to 
state my own position and perhaps strike 
a blow for the more reluctant sailing 

First, let it be known that I have 
no desire to become a Clare Francis, I 
agreed to the purchase of a "new" boat 
with a family agreement that I would have 
a new bedroom carpet. I must acknowledge 
that this agreement has been scrupulously 
honoured. It would be churlish of me to 
point out that the cost of the carpet was 
exactly 1% of the cost of the boat- 
certainly this trivial fact was not noticed 
by the four men in my family (or should I 
say four boys?). 

Last summer I took my courage in both 
hands and said to my spouse, a trifle 
timidly, "You know, I'm not so keen on 
sailing as all of you!" Consternation! 
An announcement of an intended elopement 
with the Commodore would have been received 
more calmly. (Come to think of it, they'd 
probably have approved of that.) 

So my choice is stay at home or sail — 
if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I sailed. 
As there is so little room on Girl Friday 
I stayed below for the most part, reclining 
in that uncomfortable angle between the 
bed and the wall. Every now and again the 
bad language would get worse, the thumping 
and banging would increase and I would be 
hurled to the floor. This is known as 
"going about". (This is the only nautical 
phrase I use, the rest of the mumbo jumbo 
I refuse to recognise. They get very cross 
when I talk about "parking".) 

At a party I met another sailing wife 
who raised her hand to the side of her 
mouth and said, in a hidden aside to me, 
"Do you tizaZZy like sailing?" A kindred 
spirit! I was not alone. Since then I 
have dared to ask other wives the same 
question and I realise that there are 

dozens of us. 

Having said that, I must admit it 
is not all bad. I was surprised to find 
that I thoroughly enjoyed the Silhouette 
Rally. I liked the people and I was not 
allowed on the boat all week. It was, 
however, the Rally that sowed the seed 
of the need for a bigger boat. (They 
said there will be a bigger kitchen... 
the bedroom will be down the corridor 
from the bathroom.) 

How he talked me into doing a 
Navigation Course this winter I'll 
never know — me of all people who thinks 
she is being daring when we make Cawsand 
in a Force 3. How far can it go? This 
year's family holiday has been decided; 
it is to hire a 28ft something or other 
and spend two weeks sailing round the 
Greek Islands. A touch of whimsy, no 
doubt, made him buy a Christmas present 
for the new boat and the new carpet. 
The former was given a doppler electronic 
log and the latter a dustpan and brush. 

I feel the time has come to make a 
stand. Thus far and no further. I 
would like to see the reluctant sailing 
wives draw up a code. A code for the 
WRENS (Wives Reluctantly Enlisted as 
Nautical Shipmates). My first thoughts 
would be along the lines: 

(a) I have no aspirations to be a 
Clare Francis. (Although I 
rather admire the way she's 
got herself made skipper of a 
captive boatload of dishy men.) 

(b) I like sailing providing I don't 
have to go on the boat too often 
and then only when the sun is 
shining and it is warm. 


(c) The quotation from "Coarse 
Cruising" by Michael Green that 
it's madness to go out in a 
Force 4 should be a mandatory 
club rule„ 

(d) If man can get to the Moon he 
ought to be able to devise a 
system that enables boats to 
sail upright and smoothly at 
all times, 

(e) The gargantutuan appetite that 
develops in my middle son after 
thirty minutes afloat should be 
chemically treated. 

(f) Can't we sometimes sit in the 

[Rzp>iinte,d with peAmti>6<Lon "The, 
SWiouvttz OvonoA" Hay 1978. Page.* 9-10.) 

All these ladies were wives of New Bedford whaling captains. 


art Two 
Women and the Sea; Nineteenth Century 


by Joseph C. MeAzdith 

WHAT WAS IT LIKE?— to be the wife 
of a whaling captain, to go with him and 
share the danger, to raise a family in 
a cabined ship at sea? What kind of 
women were they who chose to follow the 
whale's way along with their husbands, 
on cruises lasting three or four years 
away from home, in the great days of 
Yankee sail? 

The record is fragmentary. Of the 
13,927 voyages known to have been under- 
taken by American whaleships, less than 
a third have left a surviving trace. The 
Nicholson Whaling Collection in the 
Providence Public Library contains one 
fourth of all the whaling logbooks and 
journals known to exist, some 836 items, 
but only five of them were written by 
women. Private journals were common 
objects in New England seaport towns, 
and were not much appreciated; most of 
them wound up as scrapbooks or on the 
rubbish heap. 

One of the best accounts we have is 
that of Mary Chipman Lawrence, whose 
steady gaze in the accompanying photograph 
communicates strength, intelligence, and 
courage across the years. In 1856 she 
set forth from Falmouth, Massachusetts, 
on the Addison , (7) her husband Samuel 
Lawrence's command, for a voyage that was 
to last over three and a half years and 
take her to the Hawaiian Islands, the 
South Pacific, the Gulf of Alaska, the 
Bering Sea, the Arctic Ocean, the Marqueasas 
New Zealand, and Baja California, in all 
kinds of fortune and in all kinds of 
weather. She had experienced the loneli- 
ness of separation when her husband was 
away on his first voyage, like another 
Falmouth wife who complained to her 
diary "We have been married five years 
and have lived together for ten months. 

It is too bad , too bad ," and like her 
could have stayed passively at home again. 
But she made up her mind: "Where he goes 
I shall go." (2) 

Such decisions were not at all 
uncommon. It is estimated that captains' 
wives went along on about half of the 
voyages, so that any particular time 
during the heyday of whaling there might 
be as many as forty or fifty of these 
indomitable ladies living in ships in the 
far reaches of ocean. Children were 
taken on the voyages too, and babies born, 
either at sea or during stopovers at 
some port of call like Honolulu, where 
Mary Lawrence's journal records twelve 
Hasty Chipman Lcum.e.vicz with daaghtzA Minnie. 

compeers in residence during one of her 
visits. They followed the precedent set 
in 1822 by a Nantucket woman, Mary Hayden 
Russell, when she sailed from her island 
home to join her husband in London for a 
three-year cruise in the Emily . All told, 
the practice prevailed for about seventy- 
five years, until the decline and eclipse 
of the industry that had made it uniquely 
appropriate and feasible. 

The captain's privilege of taking his 
wife along may seem unfair, but it stemmed 
directly and unquestioned from his position 
as master of everything and everybody on 
board, the heart and brain of the ship, 
wielding enormous power. Often the captain 
would own the ship outright or a control- 
ling share in it, while the crew were mere 
employees. He and his wife were solid 
middle class, affluent (after all, a good 
whaleship was worth about $60,000), and 
not about to concede anything to the lower 
strata. The women who sailed on these 
voyages seem to have been, for the most 
part, well educated for the time, articulate 
dignified. Occasionally one of them might 
break under boredom or misfortune, but 
they always thought of themselves as ladies 
in the full Victorian context, and v/ere 
regarded as such afloat and ashore. 

In their letters home, captains' 
wives dwelled on the discomforts and 
terrors of life at sea, partly because 
this was expected of them and fulfilled 
the role they had assumed. Also, in 
keeping with the sensibilities of the 
folks back home, they were often "shocked 
almost to the point of swooning" by 
the language they heard and the things 
they saw. (3) But in the sparse 
writings that have come down to us we 
see occasional flashes of wonder and 
joy, an expanded vision of the world 
in which they lived. Mary Lawrence, for 
one, sensed the unfolding of a great epic 
of the sea, with herself as both observer 
and participant. 

Living quarters varied somewhat in 
size and convenience, but generally 
followed the arrangement shown in the 
sketch. Many were elegantly, even 
luxuriously fitted out. The cabin of 
the Guy C. Goss , built at Bath, Maine, 
was panelled in bird's eye maple, satinwood, 
and mahogany, all trimmed with ebony. 
Another popular style was all-white, 
embellished with gold leaf. Massive 
furniture, oriental rugs, and precious 
bric-a-brac would be much in evidence 
in port, but after the last visits had 

(Sketch, ofi ojoibin plan o<$ 6kip) 


been exchanged and the ship readied for 
sea, most of this would have been safely 
stowed away. 

Shipboard protocol demanded that the 
wives never set foot forward of the 
mainmast, nor converse with any of the 
crew, not for that matter go much beyond 
the ordinary civilities with the officers 
sharing the cabin. The children were 
somewhat freer, but even they had to be 
restricted to activities that would avoid 
disturbing the sleep of men and officers 
off watch. Even so, they could be a great 
nuisance, to the point of making life (as 
one fourth-mate, Abram Briggs, wrote in 
his secret journal) "Hell afloat." They 
tried to preach to the sailors, were often 
at risk of getting hurt or even washed 
overboard, and sometimes got in the way of 
work on deck. (4) 

The seagoing wife performed few 
chores beyond light washing, mending, 
and sewing, for there was always a cabin 
boy and a steward for heavier work. On 
rare occasions she would be permitted 
to supervise the cooking of a meal, and 
if she had any medical knowledge might 
be called on to prescribe on that score. 
But essentially the wife and children 
were an inward-turning social unit, 
supernumerary to all operations of the 
ship, often kept in ignorance of what 
was going on. During storms they were . 
confined to the cabin, puzzled and 
frightened by the shouts and crashes 
overhead when masts snapped and spars 
came tumbling down. Everything revolved 
around one man: the husband and father. 
"We are in a little kingdom of our own," 
wrote Mary Lawrence, "of which Samuel is 
our ruler. I should never have known 
what a great man he was if I had not 
accompanied him." 

Why did they do it? Did they simply 
exemplify the Victorian model of woman 
as a mere appendage of male conceit, or 
are we dealing, instead, with the kind 
of woman who breaks out of the mold by 
choosing not to be cradled at home while 
her husband does great things? Consider 
first that she had the strength to refuse 
to do without the companionship of the 
one person in the world whom she had 
chosen to be her companion until death. 

Second, she should be credited with 
sensing the world as a much larger place 
than Hew England horizons could encompass, 
beyond books, sermons, towns, friends, 
relatives, a place she would go and see 
for herself. She rationalized it in 
conventional terms of duty, but convention 
would have been satisfied either way. She 
refused to be short-changed out of the 
wonders of adventure, of what she could 
learn of far away lands and people, of 
kinship with the abiding mysteries of 
the deep. 


(J) Built in Philadelphia, 108 faet Long, 
with two decks, 6 qLUVte- nigged 
masts, a squaAe 6teAn, and the fiiguAe- 
head o^ a woman Samuel.' 6 bnotheA 
Thomas owned a llllnds shone in hen. 

(2) None. o& the n.econds indicate, tliat the. 
wi^e had othen. than a face, choice, in 
the matten.. 

(3) "I co n£ ess I am disappointed in the. 
appeanance oh the. natives [ofi Hawaii) , 
Uany o£ them go without clothing; both 
6 exes bathe, in the. waten entirely 
naked, unabashed. As I am suiting, 
two men axe close by my doon. without 
an anticle o^ clothing. Minnie says 

'I shall have to txxAn my head the 
otheA way." [ Journal o& Many Chipman 
Lawrence. April 10, 1857.) 

(4) Poor %rigg&, when the captain* 6 family 
increased to &ix, went ashore, got 
drunk, and recused to return to the 
ship. He was forced back undeA guan.d 
anyvxiy, and demoted to the forecastle. 


Mary Chipman Lawrence, The Captain 1 -6 
Best Mate; The JouAnal oft WaAy Chipman 
Lawrence on the whaleA Addison 1856-1 860 Q 
Edited by Stanton Gamer. Providence, 
R.J., Brown University Press, 1966. 

Stuart C. SheAman. The Voice o& the 
Whaleman, with an account ofi the 
Hicholson Whaling Collection 
Providence, R.I., Providence Public 
Library, 1965. 


Edouand A. Stackpole. The Sea-hunteAA; 
the H ei'J England Whaleman duAlng two 
centunxeM 1635-1835, VlUZadeZphta,, J 953. ( panXloxxLanly Chapten 
Six: Whaling ma&teAA and ex.ploh.eM,) 

Julia C. Sonham. Feminist and Vlatonlan: 
the Vanadox o^ the. kmexlcjan iza^anlng 
woman o£ the Nineteenth Ce.ntuh.y. The 
kmexlcan Heptane. 37:3 {July 1977)~TG3-218. 

Joanna C. Colcond. domestic UL^e on 
American calling 6hlp&. The, American 
Heptane, 2:2 f 1941) 193-20F. 

Uan.gan.eX S. CneXghton. The. Captain* & 
chlZdn.zn; Llfie. In the. adult mnZd o& 
whaling, 1852-1907. The. AmeAlcan Heptane 
38:3 [July 1978) 2Q3^2lT. 



Loud Haged the dxeadful tummult, 
And *tonmy wa* the day, 
When the A*Jux left the haxboux, 
To cho** the Geongian Bay. 

One. hundxed *oul* *he had on boaxd, 
Likewise a co*tly *tone; 
But on this txip, this gallant *hip 
Did *ink to ni*e wo mofie. 

With thxee and thixty *hanty men 
So handsome, *tout and bnave, 
Wexe bound fon Collin'* Inlet 
But found a watexy gnave. 

Of all the. *oul* the. had on boaxd, 

Two only axe. alive; 

At(44 Monxison and Tinkis*, 

Who only did *uxvive. 

His* Monxison and Tinkis*, 
TheJji name* I'll ne'ex fonget, 
Pnotected by a lifeboat 
Which &ive. time* did up*et. 

The. cabin boy next pa**ed away, 

So young, *o txue, to bnave; 

His paxents weep while. his body *leep* 

In Ge.oH.gian' * watexy glove.. 

And likewise Billy Chnistie, 
With hii> newly-wedded bnide, 
Wexe bound fon Manitoulin 
Whexe the, paxents did n.e*iAe a 

"Oh, had we only this boat, 
Last eve. at Owen Sound! 
Oh, Willie dean., why came you hexe 
To in these watens dnown?" 

The men cxied, "Save the Captain," 
at> the watens Hound him staged; 
"Oh, no," cxied he, "ne'ex think of me 
Till all on boaxd axe *aved " 

Anound each family cixcle, 
How *ad the new* to heax, 
The foundexing of the A*ia 
Left -bounding in each eon. 

anonymous ballad Aung by mailing cxew* 

One oft the mo*t common oft the wondex* 
and maxvels of the *ea wa* the mexmaid. 
The alluxing fonm of a darnel with a 
fishtail instead of leg* was *een by 
many through the centunies, and if the 
mexmaid population *eem* exce**ive a* 
compaxed to mexmen, it is haxdly fain 
to blame Hie *ailons who*e thought* 
aften all centex much mo fie axound 
women than anything else. 

Gneek mythology included the fifty 
beautiful daughter of Uexeu*, the 
wise, kindly god of the *ea who had the 
gift of, pnophecy. His Hexeid* inherited 
thX* talent, and if a fellow could catch 
one of them — they wexe to be found Hiding 
about the wave* on tnitan* and dolphin* — 
*he could be fonced to fonetell coming 
event* a* the pnice of being allowed 
to dive back into the *ea. 

The fix*t tune we heax of a mexmaid 
with a fishtail i* in the wonk* of 
Alexandex ab Alexanaxo, a leaxned 
Gneek of the fix*t centuxy B.C. She 
wa* ca*t up on *hone, a lovely gixl 
with a faix face but *cale* up to hex 
middle. She wa* *o di*txe**ed by the 
cuxiou* exowd gathexing to look at hex 
that *he bux&t into teax*. King Gaza, the 
Hulex of the place, con*idexately ondexed 
the people to withdnw), and when they 
did *o the mexmaid dived back into the 
watex. She came to the *uxface, *houted 
*ome wond* which nobody undex*tood, and 
disappeaned. The Roman hi*toHian Pliny 
knew of a txiton oh mexman who luxed 
*hip* to de*txuction by hi* *ong, but 
Pliny could not tell what he looked like 
becau*e evexybody who had *een him 
immediately vanished. In hit, time, too, 
came the fix*t indication* that mexmaid* 
neatly wexe only *eals, becau*e they axe 
desexibed a* cxying Like human* when 
caught and nuX&ing theix young. 

So much intexe*t wa* axou*ed in the*e 
maxvelou* cxeatuxe* that in 1723 a Vanish 
Royal Commi**ion wa* *et up to investigate. 
If the commi**ion found that no *uch 
thing existed, it wa* to be again*t the 
law to talk about them. Fontunately 
foH fnee *peech, the membex* of the 
commi**ion *potted a mexman off the 
X-axoe Uland* following it until it 


dUAappe/Vie.d fitiom 6>Lgh£. EvzwtuaZZy, 
tkz. m€XmcU,d tzqznd dioA out, 

^nom, VztQA TnQuohm' & Book 

oj the. Seven Sexa by YeXen. 

page. 48Z-4S4 

• .' ■. .' ::■ ■• saint law 

SooTwweyr • v • 

• ' . '. S'HEB'OV&AN 



A young lady farom St, Ignace, on the 
Upper Peninsula side ofa the Straits, 
went visiting her paA2.nU on Mackinac 
Island, On Sunday, Way 7, two day* 
afater the Cedarville capsized, she fault 
her time was near and sent faor the 

C^HAJB-A. "C-'..y : ^.\ 

island doctor. He recommended that 
she be taken immediately to medical 
facilities on the mainland, so he put 
in an uAgent colt faor the Coast Guard, 

fog stilt hung like a fauneral pall 
oven the Straits ofa Mackinac, but a 
Coast Guard crew in a 36-faoot Lifeboat 
piloted their way through the gloom 
and put into the island late that 
evening, taking the expectant mother 
aboard. They departed at 11:25 p m,, 
insisting that the doctor go with them 
because ofa the heavy faog and the 
possibility that the six-mile trip 
might take longer than usual. 

About midway to land, somewhere 
between Michigan's mitten and her 
copper-plated iron derby, the doctor 
delivered a daughter, assisted by an 

FALLS . ;."...'••'■ ■ , 


ewe. pEj^5YILVAT$ HA 

able seaman, with a BM2 operating the 
boat and an EM J in the bow on faog 

The infant uttered her fairst sounds 
Hie across the waters where drowning 
men had given their last cries faor 
help two days before. The lifeboat 
made the mainland at one minute past 
midnight, mother and daughter doing 
faine, a promise faor the future farom 
the Straits ofa Mackinac, 

farom; Great Lakes Shipwrecks 

S Survivals by NAJUUam Rattgan 

page 89 



The populaA * tonic* of the plnate* 
teemed with men tontuned and cut to 
piece*, of women Aavlbhed, and even 
children dabhed to theln deathb. 
They could be true, too p but not 
alt o^ the&e deed* were the wonk of 
men. Two of the mo*t bloodthlA*ty 
villain* tven known In the l<)e*t 
Indies wene Wany Read and Anne. Bonny, 
who joined the/Ji hubbandb on a 
plnate vebbel, wone pantaloon*, and 
wielded a cutta** wUh the bebt of 
them. They wene bald to be without 
mercy except a* they weAe accused of 
"carrying off *truggllng and tender 
young male* a* well a* loot." When 
their *lilp wa* captured In 1720, the 
entoie crew wa* promptly condemned 
to be hanged by a Jamaica count, 
{'hereupon, the two women "pleaded 
their bellle*," a* the baying then 
went, which meant that they Invoked 
the law which forbid* the execution 
of a pregnant woman. 

from, Peter Freuchen'*\5ook 
of the Seven Seat> page 35S 

Vunxng the *ame Mo v ember * to fun that 
walZowed the "Per*la", the little 
granddaughter of Captain Vlbbrow, 
balling mabter of the bchooner 
"Volunteer" , awoke hex mother about 
midnight and abked to have a lamp Lighted, 
because *he had been "grandfather captain" 
btandlng by heA bedblde. 

The grownup* tried to dtbmlbb the 
youngbter'b vlblon ab no more than a 
nightmare, but they thembelve* weAe 
*elzed with unea&y foreboding because 
it wa* the omlnou* night before 
Thanksgiving and one of the wor&t 
November *torm* on record wa* ruaglng 
aero** the Lake*. SeveAal day* later 
thelA *ecret fear*, and the child'* 
dAeam, became realized when newb arrived 
that the bchooneA "Volunteer" had been 
wrecked by the btonm and that Captain 
Vlbbrow had gone down with hlb bhlp. 
from, GAeat lake* Shipwrecks 
6 SuAvlvalb by WUUULam Ratlgan 
page 9S 

l\Ab. Walker, btewaAdebb on the 
440- foot freighter 'AAgub', mubt have 
had heA last moment* heartened by ballon, 
deed* a* gallant a* anything celebrated 
In the count* of, clilvalry. Hen knight* 
In *hlnlng anmon wene the engineer and the 
captain. The body of the *tewarde** 
came a* hone neon Kincardine wnapped In the 
englneen.'* heavy coat and buoyed up by 
the captain'* own life preserver. When 
the body of Captain Paul Gutch, master 
of the 'Argus', wabhed Into the beach, 
It was. .without a life pre*erver 

from, Gneat Lake* ^Shipwrecks 

S \S&Avlval* by [})UUUam Ratlgan 




Stilt anothen case involving a lone, 
female on Lake. Enie nesulted inom a 
shipwneck in late Hovemben, 1854, when 
the schoonen 1 'Conducton', , loaded with 
gnain ^nom Bu^alo, and dniving thn.ou.ah 
a blinding snowstonm, failed to see 
Long Point Light, and went cnashing 

The waiting vessel had stnuck ofifi 
one oft the most lonesome place* along 
the Canadian shone. Only one family 
lived in the anea and the husband was 
alneady gone ion. the day, when hi* 
wife bow a smashed yawl on the. beach,, 
She went down to investigate, and then 
looked out towand the hand ban. halfi 
a mile, finom shone,, Thene she. Saw the 
wnecked schoonen with tonn sail* and 
decks awash. A numben o£ men wene 
clinging to hen. nigging as the masts 
whipped savagely in the gale.. 

Only a lone, woman stood between 
those sailons and centain death by on Sneezing. She capped hen 
hands and called encouragement acnoss 
the waten. Then she naced back to the 
house up the beach to let hen youngstens 
know that they would have to get along 
without hen fan a white. 

A strapping woman, Uothen Becken 
stood six fact without hen shoes on, 
and generally she wone none, because 
the \amily was too poon to a^fand them. 
Uow she went back to the shone thnough 
the ovennight snow, banefaoted 

She made a bonfiine ofi dnifitwood, as 
a sign o£ hope to the sailons who held 
death gnips on the schoonen* s nigging. 
She tnied to £ix the yawl, but it was 
beyond nepain. She tnied to build a 
nafit but thene wene not enough materials. 
She thought o£ going fan help, but the 
neanest place was faunteen miles away 
and, i{ the men saw hen leave, they 
might lose heant. 

Mother Becken saw only one way fan 
the sunvivons to be nescued. She 
cupped hen hands and called'' "Swim! 
You've got to jump ovenboand and swim. 
I'll help you get to land. Swim!" 

One man ^inalZy bnaved the attempt* 
Mother Becken Saw him take o^ a 
heavy coat and climb down ^nom the mast. 
In the waten he stnuggled fan headway 

while she did hen best to keep up 
hi* counage. A fiew stnokes &nom safety, 
he lost stnength and stanted to go down. 
Out she went in hen flimsy dres& thnough 
the icy waten and hauled him in to 
shone. She put wanm blankets anound him 
beside the fiine and gave him hot tea 
^nom a big tin pot. Restoned to Ufa, 
he pnoved to be the schoonen 1 s captain, 
Robent Hackett. H e said that he had 
told hi* mate Jerome to come next i& 
he made it, but othenwise fan alt six 
men to stay in the nigging anothen night. 

"Another night," &aid Mother Becken 
with hen bane fact in the snow and 
hen dness faozen on hen, "anothen 
night and they'd be naught but statue* 
canved out o^ Lake Enie ice." She 
cupped hen hands. "Swim! I'll letch 
you to shone. But Swim!" 

The mate Jenome tnied the long 
pull next and when he began to flounder, 
Captain Hacket plunged to the nescue 
o^ his iin*t o{{icen. Wo then Beckett 
watched the stnuggle, saw both men 
disappean, and again went into action. 

The gneat-heanted Amazon nepeated 
hen penfanmance until eveny last man 
o£ the seven who had clung to the 
schoonen' s nigging was safa on shone. 
She had made them a pnomise and she 
kept it. 

Today, 105 yeans laten, the pontnait 
0& the woman called the Guandian Angel 
ofi Long Point Bay hangs in the Abigail 
Becken Wand ol Simcoe Town Hospital, 
with a lange gold lifiesaving medal on 
hen bneast and a gi{t Bible nesting 
on hen ample lap. Men henoism neceived 
pnactical necognition in the fanm o& 
a hundred-acne ianm voted hen by the 
Canadian Panliament and in a punse 
holding one thousand do Hans in gold 
faom the Lifiesaving Association o^ New 
Yonk because two ol the men she 
nescued wene U.S. sailons. 

Mother Becken neven went without 
shoes again a The ownen oi the ship- 
wnecked schoonen paid hen a vi*it, 
noticed the total absence oh faotgean, 
measuned the fact o^ the lifiesaven 
and hen childnen, and within a ^ew 
week* sent a huge chest containing 
shoes in all vanieties fan the 
family oi the lone woman who had 


Atood on the. £niz bhone., 
banehooted in the & now, to aaJUL acA066 
haavij 4(lcu>: r S<bLm! V It {eJtxih you to 
&hon.e. Bat Swim!" 

Sped KiotheA, "Chitdtizn, wake.; 
A bhip'i gone down, they're ne.e.ding me.; 
YouA fiatheA'A o^ on bhone.; the. take. 
14 ju&t a staging Aea." 

She bought the me.n, t>he bought them faa/i; ^athomb down the. gttipped them tight; 
Wi£h both together up the. ban. 
She bta.ggeM.ed into bight. 

by Amanda T. JoneA 

^, Gnejat Lake* Shi.pwn.eck& & SunvivaLi 
by Wittiam RatLgan. Vage. US 


Pi "•"■"■'I. 
art nree 

Women and the Sea: Twentieth Century 

by Joan LeiaU 

The dream of going down to the sea 
in ships, once a pervasively male ambition, 
has become, in the last decade, appropriate 
for women as well who hold a love of the 

Sailing, though historically consid- 
ered only for the more adventurous female 
willing to stray from convention, has 
never inherently denied her its joys. The 
physical demands are constitutional, not 
biological, as increasing numbers of women 
in civilian and military capacities 
have demonstrated in recent years. 

And the U.S. Navy, swept along by 
society's imputus towards sexual equality, 
is now in the process of removing the 
barriers to this once all -male bastion. 
Although women do not yet enjoy full equal- 
ity of opportunity within naval ranks, the 
machinery is turning. Unfortunately, social 
conscience was not the prime motive for 
these reforms. When the AVF (All Volunteer 
Forces) became a reality in 1967 and a 
possible personnel shortage loomed, women 
were viewed as playing a vital role in 
making the AVF a success. That linked 

with the advent of the feminist movement 
and the ERA drive, provided irresi stable 
logic for revision of naval policies. 

As a result, the Navy today "is 
actively pursuing maximum integration of 
all personnel assets, male and female, 
active and reserve military, civilian and 
contractor, in order to achieve synergistic 
benefit from complementary talent." 
(Vice Admiral Robert B. Baldwin, Deputy 
Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, 
Personnel and Training and Chief of Naval 
Personnel) According to V. Admiral 
Baldwin, Naval policies now "expand the 
utilization and career enhancement of 
female personnel wherever practicable 
within the constraints of law." 

It is the changes in the "constraints 
of law" that are responsible for the 
increasingly significant role of women in 
the Navy. 

Until 1948, women were only a 
temporary force for the military, to 
pinch hit for the boys in battle — a 
"resource of the last resort" according 
to retired USAF Major General Jean Holm, 
who stated at a 1977 Senate labor sub- 
committee that using more women in the 


Armed Forces "has always been a difficult 
concept for the military to accept". She 
added that their participation has been 
considered only after that of "substandard 
males, minorities, and civilians." The 
Women's Armed Services Integration Act 
passed in 1948 gave permanent status to 
women in the four services. Limitations 
on total (2% of the regular force) and 
top permanent ranks were imposed, however. 
With the advent of the AVF in 1967, such 
restrictions were lifted. Further policy 
changes v/ere made in compliance with the 
Supreme Court which ruled that married 
servicewomen were entitled to such 
benefits as housing allowances, comissary 
privileges and health benefits. 

All enlisted ratings were opened to 
women in 1972 where before they were 
excluded from 75% of the 102 specialties. 
The first female aviators were selected 
in 1973, the same year separate management 
of women was eliminated. 

"progress" women, by not having the 
opportunity to serve in combat ships 
and planes, are inhibited in their 
opportunities to acquire higher rank. 

Numbers of individuals involved 
in these changes are relatively small. 
For instance, only 15 female naval 
aviators were produced in both 1978 
and 1979 as well as another 15 planned 
for 1980. Presently, 28 women aviators 
are on active duty. Compared to the 
many hundreds of men involved in naval 
aviation as pilots the number of women 
is very small. 

Problems which are inherent in 
the integration of women are being 
thought about and worked on. Training 
and development programs are being 
implemented. It takes time and effort 
to build new traditions and modify 
old attitudes. 

In 1976 women were admitted to the 
US Naval academy at Annapolis and the 
first woman line officer was appointed 
to flag rank. 

The Navy code was changed in 1978 
to permit permanent assignment of women 
to non-combatant ships and to aircraft 
not engaged in combat missions. While 
this change must be categorized as 

Many thanks to the United States Navy 
for their cooperation. 



from, The Visual Encyclo- 
pedia of Nautical Term* Under ScuUC? " 
Crown VubLUher* Inc. New York. 191 '8 

adrift- late,ab*ent when * uppo*ed to 
join * kip 

all my eye and Betty \Sartin- non*en*e 
without foundation in fact 

by the (Mind- bloke., penniZe** 

Cape. Horn fever- malingerer* feigned UJine** 
in bad weather. The weather off 
Cape. Ho in wa* often *o bad that 
a feigned illne** wa* the only way 
of keeping out of, dangerou* and 
uncomfortable condition* 

copper bottomed- very *afe and *ure 

cro** hit, bom- to annoy someone 

dab toe- a seaman [wa*he* deck* in bale, 

donkey' 6 break f a* t- very badly performed 
a me**, term for seaman' & bunk 
in the day A when it wot* made of 

dKip- to complain 

father- the commanding officer [captain) 

harbour *tyle- easy and relaxed, no heavy 
*ea work 

heavy weather- to exaggerate the difficulty 
of a job 

hoist in- to understand, to comprehend 

hu**if- corruption of word housewife, 
■bailor'* kit for effecting 
repair* to clothing 

land A hark*- lawyer*, considered unlucky 
to have aboard for any purpose 

make and mend- a half day off, formerly 
time off to mend clothe*, very 
nece**ary with the hard wear at 

*ling your hammock- to go, usually for good 

*lip one'* cable- to die 

*on of a gun- complimentary term originally 
meaning a *ea man born at sea, from 
period when wive* lived on board 
in harbour and even at *ea and had 
to give birth in betioeen the gun* 
*ince other deck *pace had to be 
kept clear 

*wallow the anchor- to leave the sea, to 

zizz- to *leep,in particular between 



■=— ■ > <S*,*SSi.\- ~T 

1877- The first woman to crew for a 

man across an ocean and to cross 
the Atlantic from West to East 
was Mrs. Thomas Crapo. She 
sailed from Cape Cod to Penzance 
with her husband in the 20ft 
whaler, New Bed fordo 

1934-37- The first woman to sail 

around the world as part of a 
two man crew was a Mrs. Strout 
who with her husband, Professor 
Strout circumnavigated in a 
replica of Slocum's Spray called 
Igdrasi I . 

1952- First woman to cross an ocean 
single handed was Anne Davison 
in the 23ft sloop Felicity Anne. 
Her yacht was smal I enough to 
be adequately handled by a 
woman and was correspondingly 
slow. Anne had previously been 
wrecked with her husband off 
Portland Bill. Her husband was 
drowned but she managed to swim 
ashore after 14 hours c She then 
resolved to sail on alone and 
fought to get her own boat and 
learn to sail which she did on 
the passage. 

1965- The only woman to sail single- 
handed across the Pacific is 
Sharon Sites. Her first passage 
was from San Pedro U.S A to 
Hawaii and in 1969 she made a 
second crossing from Japan to 
San Diego. 

1971- The second woman to cross the 

Atlantic and to make the fastest 
time was Nicolette Milnes Walker, 
who crossed in 44 days. 

1971- A most astonishing feat was 

engaged in by a woman — Sylvia 
Cook agreed to row across the 
Pacific with John Fairfax and 

endured the most incredible 
hardship over the 9000 miles. 

1972- The fastest crossing of the 
Atlantic by a woman was by 
Marie-Claude Faroux. At 26 
she is also the youngest girl 
to have crossed an ocean alone. 
Her passage time was 32 days 
compared with 57 and 59 days 
taken by the two other women 
competing in the same single- 
handed race. 

1973- Claire Francis became the 6th 
woman to cross the Atlantic 
single-handed and she has since 
made many other momentous 
voyages, including skippering 

a yacht around the world. 

1974- The first two-woman ocean 
crossing was by Joan Baty and 
Stephanie Merry in a 32ft sloop. 
They left Cowes on April 17th 
and arrived in Long Island 5 
weeks and 4 days later,, 

1974- The first International Sailing 
Championships for women were 
held in May. These were organized 
by the French National Authority, 
the object being to try to 
institute a class for women only 
in the Olympic Games in 1980. We 
will see. In these first races 
80 women from 11 countries took 
• part. 

1978- Naomi James completed a round the 
world trip. 

1978- Claire Francis skippered one of 

the entries in the last Whitbread 
Round the World race. 

No woman has yet crossed the Atlantic 
from west to east, but this is presumably 
because all the female sailors have so 
far been Europeans and therefore sailed 
to America rather than any technical 
reasons or question of capability. 



If a couple can live amicably and 
as equals on a 28-foot sailboat, even 
for a short period such as two weeks, 
their relationship has passed a "salt- 
water" testo They have worked out 
arrangements for sharing the work, 
the authority and the decision- 
making: the use of storage space 
first, then the routines of mooring 
and getting underway, the navigating 
and chart-reading, and the eternal 
shopping, carrying water, cooking and 
cleaning up. There is something about 
sharing these tasks afloat that 
triggers hot tempers. It is not a 
myth that sailors develop salty langu- 
age! Ah, but the rewards are tremendous! 

How this issue came to be: 

To get to the taverna across Lefkas 
Bay, we crossed over from our anchorage, 
where the Sky I la was moored, in a caique; 
from the dock on the other side it was 
a very short walk to dinner. There 
were about thirty of us — sailors who had 
chartered the eleven Cobra 28 sailboats 
that made up our flotilla, or "little 
fleet", of summertime happiness in the 
Ionian Sea — gathered about several long 
tables, enjoying the famous Greek hospital- 
ity which includes not only food and wine 
but music, dancing and wonderful conver- 
sation. During the dinner conversation 
our flotilla leader (one of two profession- 
al skippers, navigators and engineers), 
Bridget Marsh, commented that many women 
were excellent skippers. "I've seen 
them," said she, "sail the boat for the 
entire island to island crossing, then 
hand the tiller over to their husbands 
when entering the harbor!" It was clear 
that she meant — not that the women were 
incapable of bringing the boat to a 
proper docking — but that it was the 
husband's prerogative to be the one to 
do it. 

This led us to a discussion of the 
varying roles of women at sea. Among the 
various nationalities represented among 
the summer sailors of these Homeric 
isles — we were German, Dutch, English, 
Scandinavian, American, Greek. What were 
the origins, we wondered, of superstitious 

fears of women on ships? Why were 
women supposed to be bad luck at sea? 
As we tossed about our questions and 
speculations, it became inevitable: 
we would do a special issue of The 
Creative Woman on WOMEN SAILING and, 
in the process, have a good look at 
what we found. The enthusiasm of 
Bridget Marsh and her willingness 
to take on the task were the decisive 
factors in bringing this to fruition. 

About this issue's quest editor: 
Bridget Marsh learned to sail at 
age eight on her father's boato She 
traveled around the world at age 16 
seeing Tahiti, Singapore, India. After 
four years at University she was soon 
back to sea and when she was 23 she 
bought a small yacht, 20' long, and 
fixed it up for cruising. Since 1978 she 
has been hostess/skipper and then 
flotilla coordinator living on and sail- 
ing, single-handed, a 34' yacht. She 
has some exciting but secret big adven- 
ture ahead in 1981 which TCW will share 
with readers as soon as we find out more 
about it. 

+ + + + + 

As t write this, the low winter sun 
of northern Europe sends bright slanting 
rays through our southern windows onto 
my writing table. It is a January day, 
a beginning of a new year and a new 
decade. It also marks the beginning 
of a new era in the ongoing life of 
The Creative Woman, with the Editor 
four thousand miles away, and the day- 
to-day management and production of 
the Quarterly in the competent and 
experienced hands of Lynn Thomas Strauss, 
recently promoted to Managing Editor. 
She is ably assisted by our original 
founding staff — Suzanne Oliver, graphic 
designer, and Joan Lewis, editorial 

Future issues: 

WOMEN IN PSYCHOLOGY, Spring 1980. Guest 
editors: El fie Hinterkopf and Pam Rebeck, 
both members of the psychology faculty 
at this University. Deadline for submission 
of articles: March 21, 1980. 

WOMAN AND NATURE - a look at Ecology and 
the special contributions made by women 


to a better understanding of the rela- 
tionships among all living beings as 
well as our relation to the environment. 
Guest editors will be Bethe Hagens (editor 
of Acorn , Outlook, and professor of 
anthropology at GSU) and Joan Lewis, 
of our staff. Summer 1980. Deadline 
for contributions is June 21, 1980. 

"Grow old along with me. 

The best is yet to be, 

The last of life for which the first 

was made". 
These lines from Robert Browning inspired 
Marge Sharp to undertake an issue on 
ADULTHOOD AND AGING as guest editor. 
Sharp's "Two Unique Women in the Field 
of Animal Behavior" appeared in our 
Women in Science issue, Spring 1978, 
V.I, No. 4. She is now working as a 
group counselor with senior citizens 
(some of whom like that term and some of 
whom hate it). We especially invite 
women to submit articles on their own 
feelings and experiences of what Simone 
de Beauvoir has called "The Coming of Age". 
Fall 1980 o Deadline September 21, 1980. 

Looking far ahead to Winter of 1981, 
we are excited to announce a special issue 
title). Beverly Beeton, historian, 
will be our guest editor. Do readers 
have biographical data on their grand- 
mothers and great-grandmothers who 
made the long westward trek? Contribu- 
tions should be sent to Beeton af GSU by 
December 21, 1980. 

From TheHague I send to my staff 
and to all our readers my best wishes 
for a productive and rewarding and very 
happy new year! 

m&le.n UuglieA 
On luavd ion. 19 SO 
(Mail reaches me at Ruychrocklaan 350, 
The Hague, Netherlands) 

Thanks to Crown Publisher Inc. of 
New York for use of graphics from 
The Visual Encyclopedia of Nautical 
Terms Under Sail. 1978. 

Thanks to American Heritage 
Publishing Co. Inc. of New York for 
use of graphics from American Heritage 
History of Seafaring America. 1974. 

Thanks to Oxford University Press for 
use of graphics from Oxford Companion 
To Ships and The Sea. 


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